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Showing posts from January, 2010


It has been almost a month of homeschooling. Some highlights:so many new friends- Lilah now has at least seven new friends who are also learning at homesix playdates, a field trip, two trips to playgroup, several trips to the library and lunch with her new friends at IKEAattended a gymnastics birthday party for a public school friendchecked out a geography beepicked out yarn for her blanketstarted new swimming classstarted new pottery classjoined a homeschool Brownie Troopwas given a Mozart piece by her piano teacher to compliment our composer studylikes math for the first time, choosing it over television at nightcompleted three lapbooks: Family History, Squirrels, and Frogsknows the difference between a vertebrate and an invertebratehas memorized the poem The Caterpillar and is working on her second poemknows the definition of a nounenjoys mixing watercolor paintis participating in a Chinese New Year festival able to read past her bedtime and picks books about Egypt to read!now ea…

Very Cool

Wednesday we made our first field trip to the Peabody Museum at Yale University. We have been studying ancient history and are currently exploring ancient Egypt. We have read about the flood plains of the Nile, the battle between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt and the birth of Egyptian Mythology. She has drawn ancient symbols in her sketchbook, read books like Tomie DePaola’s Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile and inquired about practice of mummification, which she read about on her own.Taking her to the Peabody this week connected this learning to the artifacts at the museum. She ran her hands over the relief tiles commenting to herself how very cool it was to see the things she has been reading about in person. I told her that the Metropolitan Museum of Art also has an Ancient Egyptian wing and that she will find it amazing too. “Oh Mom....I don’t need any more coolness! This is so cool, it is all I need!”

Tipping the Balance

We are entering into testing season in public school. G gets tested repeatedly throughout the school year. However, after Christmas vacation, the district kicks into high gear. Now not only are CMT groups meeting after school for those students who the district has deemed in need of extra help, they are now meeting during school for all students. I find it so frustrating that our district cannot find time to sing a 20 second patriotic song (a tradition that was cut from the day this year due to needing more “instructional time”) yet they can manage to reschedule teachers and students to create CMT Study Groups; groups of children in grades three through six who meet at least weekly focusing on one area of the CMT test. There is an increase in district mandated testing, and this is all piled on top of grade level work that is required. Add to this, no outdoor recess as long as there is snow on the ground and I have a recipe for one very stressed unhappy child.The red flags of her…

First Lapbook

Yesterday I learned something important. Part of homeschooling is learning to let go. When L was crabby and needed time to just hang out and relax, I gave it to her. Part of me was screaming “what about science, what about the Mozart webcast I wanted to listen to, what about our schedule??” Another smaller part of me said “just wait”. And so I did. I gave her the time to lay down on the couch with her Barbie dolls and snuggle with her two dogs, Jake and Daphne. Having Daphne curl up on your lap is a sure fire cure to any bad mood. It did not take long, about a half hour before she said, okay mom, I’m ready. And ready she was. I pulled up a YouTube video of a boy, perhaps 5 years old, sharing his All About Me lapbook. There were samples of his writing, stickers, things he liked, things he learned about God and his religion and samples of his art. I have been trying to get L to work on a lapbook to document her learning about squirrels, the first animal she choose in her ani…


I have read that it is recommended to allow for a period of “deschooling” when a child comes out of public school. For every year they have been in school, take one month off and do nothing. That would have been nice had I withdrew L at the end of the school year. We could have allowed for deschooling over the natural summer break and began with lessons in September. However, with one child remaining in public school it would seem pretty unfair to her and quite frankly, a little nerve racking to me to allow for two months of nothingness during January and February. Last week we jumped right into lessons and much was accomplished. She completed her History of My Family project, which coincided with the introduction to ancient history. She started a lapbook about squirrels for her animal classification study. She took two math placement tests. She memorized a poem. She painted a beautiful watercolor painting. She began a composer study by listening daily to Mozart. Whew. Th…

Week In Review

I am still processing my thoughts and feelings about this week. There are so many things I want to say about it but my brain jumps from one topic to the next too quickly to write coherently right now.Here are some quotes from Lilah I jotted down in my journal throughout the week:Jessica: “What do mammals do when they are in a group?” L: “Date?”
“Grammar is my best part of the day!”“Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a noun!” This led us to jumping ahead to discuss proper nouns since it could not be added to our web of common nouns.“Math is so much more fun now....just to let you know”“It’s fun having school with my dogs!”“I learned that up to 10 in one place is okay. After that you have to regroup.”
Perhaps my best memory of this week was during the night last night. Because of an spontaneous sleep over for G, L slept in bed with me. About 5:00am I heard L tossing and turning. I despaired because I thought she was crying in her sleep, a sound I am much to used to hearing. I immediately …

Thank Goodness for Library Cards!

The four of us just returned from a two hour trip to the library. I don’t think we have taken a family trip to the library since the girls were toddlers. I was on a mission: to supplement L’s curriculum. She needs Bible stories for Ancient History, non-fiction books about squirrels for her animal classification unit for science, a few good picture books to go with some math lessons from Marilyn Burns’ unit on place value and a few short books on cd for when we are on the go but still need to use the time for learning. Two hours and two stuffed tote bags later, I feel ready to delve into this adventure of learning at home.

Our library has three floors, the main for circulation, young adult and research, the third is children's and the lower is a quiet study area filled with young adult/adult non fiction books. After discovering three books about squirrels I neglected to add to my bag, I made a dash back to the third floor leaving my girls with my husband in the quiet area. I re…